This story was first published in The Fayetteville Observer.
A medical training exercise shifted into real-world application Monday for Fort Bragg soldiers as a passenger airplane crashed in front of them in Mogadishu, Somalia, according to an Army news release.
The soldiers are deployed to Somalia under the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa to train, advise and assist African partner militaries.
They are part of the Maneuver Adviser Team 2231, which is working with the Somali National Army’s Danab Brigade to support the Danab Brigade’s mission to conduct offensive operations against violent extremist organizations
According to the news release, the soldiers were medically training a platoon of Somalia’s Danab commandos when a Jubba Airlines plane with about 30 passengers crashed at about 10:30 a.m. Monday at the nearby Mogadishu International Airport.
The commandos and Fort Bragg soldiers rushed into action, climbing a razor-wire fence to reach the plane, which skidded to a halt upside down just meters from their training location, according to the news release.
As the Danab commandos rushed toward the aircraft to pull injured passengers, Fort Bragg soldiers Sgt. 1st Class Caleb Vanvoorhis, Staff Sgt. JoAnna Baxter and Staff Sgt. Taylor Palmer established a triage area and helped local emergency responders evacuate 16 injured passengers to nearby medical facilities.
Leaders of the Fort Bragg brigade said they are proud of the reactions of the three soldiers and the Danab commandos.
“Their combined actions demonstrated the agility, quick thinking and decisive action that is essential to the advisor mission,” Lt. Col. Sean Nolan, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, said in the release.
Col. Michael Sullivan, commander of the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, keyed in on the commando’s reaction to the crisis.
“Our soldiers supported their response, which was highly professional and demonstrates the value of our commitment to long-term security cooperation efforts in the region,” Sullivan said.